Published Wednesday, 30 October 2013
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Crusaders striker Chris Morrow fired home the winner with just over ten minutes to go in the semi-final clash.
The win was the Belfast side's 11th consecutive victory in an incredible run which has seen them go 15 games unbeaten.
The result set up a showpiece decider against Linfield on 3 December.
The Blues booked their place in the final after an impressive 4-1 victory against league champions Cliftonville on Tuesday.
Crusaders' manager Stephen Baxter told UTV he was looking forward to locking horns with Linfield in the final.
He said: "It should be a good game, it always is with Linfield.
"But you have to get through the semi-final and while the game may not have been a spectacle for the supporters I felt we were on the front foot for most of the game and I felt the goal was coming," Baxter added.
It was a scrappy, tense affair and one goal won it in the end.
Baxter praised the work of substitutes Morrow and Jordan Owens who helped secure the victory.
He added: "We made the decision to rest a couple of players what with the games we have had and the fixtures coming up.
"But it's good to have that ammunition on the bench that you can bring on and I thought Morrow did well.
"He came on, pulled the strings and got the goal he deserved.
"I was pleased with them all, they all worked tirelessly and I thought the win was deserved."
Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson said it was frustrating to have to hand the shield back.
He added: "Being holders and going out the way we did is disappointing and I thought we had a good opportunity to get the win.
"We had a few suspensions and a couple of injuries and Stephen changed his side which levelled it up.
"I think in the first half we had the better chances, but we were not clinical enough, made the wrong decisions and paid the price.
"They changed their style of play, brought on Jordan Owens and it worked for them.
"They went route one and got the goal."
© UTV News